3rd party apps aren't what makes or breaks a smartphone platform

3rd party apps aren't what makes or breaks a smartphone platform

Summary: As a user of many smartphones, I find the basics in Symbian on the E7 beat out the flashy apps on other platforms.

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As my friend Kevin Tofel reported yesterday a mobile analytics firm reported for the first time that mobile application usage beat out the web browser on Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, iOS, and Java platforms. I load a ton of apps on my devices, but I am coming to the realization that I am generally more satisfied with just sticking with the default apps on a platform and thousands of apps in an application store is not as important as we are all led to believe.

My current active smartphone collection includes the Droid Charge, Nokia E7, and Dell Venue Pro. I have 3rd party apps on all of these, but tend to use the preloaded apps and utilities on my E7 and DVP more than 3rd party apps while on my Droid Charge I do use 3rd party apps more. While the app and UI may not be the flashiest, I am using the E7 more than the other two because it gives me the best RF signal, is the best hardware, has the longest battery life, and is a solid performer. The Dell Venue Pro is 2nd, but the battery life kills that too quickly. The Droid Charge regularly just freezes for a minute at a time and is becoming a rather cumbersome device for me and I am considering dropping it soon.

Nokia's Symbian devices may not appeal to folks who like iOS or Android, but there is still something to be said for Symbian and for those of us who are used to the operating system running it on hardware as fantastic as the E7 is nice. I purchased a Nokia E6 that arrives in a couple of days and imagine it will be my new primary device since it runs Symbian Anna and has a form factor that should be very functional.

While I do enjoy loading a ton of apps on my smartphones, at the end of the day the device that keeps me connected the longest (RF reception and battery life), responds and is there when I need it, and appeals to my senses (fantastic hardware) is the one that I go to and thus there is still a valid place for Nokia's Symbian devices in the mobile marketplace.

I do think the available 3rd party apps and services on a tablet form factor are more important than on a smartphone device and that is why my iPad 2 beats all other tablets out.

Topics: Mobility, Apple, Apps, Hardware, Mobile OS, Nokia, Smartphones

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20 comments
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  • RE: 3rd party apps aren't what makes or breaks a smartphone platform

    ok.. so I know 2 persons in the whole world who use Nokia phone... One is you and the other is the head of marketing in Nokia!
    browser.
  • RE: 3rd party apps aren't what makes or breaks a smartphone platform

    Question are the 3 phones on the same carrier ???
    mrlinux
  • 3rd Party Apps Can Matter

    I am still using a Windows Mobile 6 phone (HTC HD2) because I had a lot of apps from my old Dell PDA that I like and not all have iOS and/or Android versions, or there are not equivalent good apps. Most of what I do uses 3rd-party apps.

    Of course, at some point I will have to move to a new OS (probably not Windows Phone 7), but not until I can do most of the things on the new phone that I do on my current phone.
    brucegil@...
  • RE: 3rd party apps aren't what makes or breaks a smartphone platform

    "3rd party apps aren't what makes or breaks a smartphone platform"

    I have to openly disagree with this title. iOS is very much an app-centric OS, and without its third party apps, would be a *JOKE.* No two ways about it. I like Android as an OS better than iOS, but iOS's incredible apps are what keep me buying new iOS devices every time they come out. I only get a new Android device every few years or so.
    seraph82
    • RE: 3rd party apps aren't what makes or breaks a smartphone platform

      @seraph82 You mean like the very first iPhone?
      Aerowind
      • RE: 3rd party apps aren't what makes or breaks a smartphone platform

        @Aerowind Apple eventually realized that they were being a bunch of tool-belts and enabled native apps...
        snoop0x7b
    • RE: 3rd party apps aren't what makes or breaks a smartphone platform

      @seraph82 when iphone came out, it was 'apple store has nearly 100k apps'. now android has more than 300k and growing, but still is because of the apps in ios. no one knows which apps are in itunes or what they do, probably no one here can name an app in itunes that can do something that there is not an app in android market or in other major brands out there that can do the same. as some video in youtube says, 'my 3 years old sister phone can run apps', and apps have been there since phones could run java. you should change ytour words to something like: 'i have an iphone because all people i know have one, and i dont want to be left out, but since this is a lame excuse i have to repeat the same thing the people that may left me out repeat, even though no one of us give a damn about apps, no one of us install more than 10 apps and are the same apps everybody else use and are available for all platforms, but we must have a reason to say we got those iphones and not sound so lame'
      voodoochicken
      • vast majority of android phones can't run netflix..

        @voodoochicken .. in response to "probably no one here can name an app in itunes that can do something that there is not an app in android market"
        doctorSpoc
      • RE: 3rd party apps aren't what makes or breaks a smartphone platform

        @voodoochicken When you are clueless of what you are talking about it's best to keep your mouth shut so you don't look like the idiot that you are. When the iPhone came out there were NO third party apps, it wasn't until iPhone OS 2.0 that the App Store was available. Both Android and iOS now have a ton of apps and on both platforms a lot of those apps duplicate what others do. I personally couldn't care less what OS the guy next to me uses as it has no affect on me, hopefully more people will grow up and realize it has no affect on them. As far as the article, I think he is complete wrong. So you don't use third party apps much, good for you but that doesn't mean nobody else does either. I use third party apps far more than the stock apps.
        non-biased
      • RE: 3rd party apps aren't what makes or breaks a smartphone platform

        @voodoochicken Want another example? How about no Major League Baseball live video in MLB.TV? You can watch games live on both the iPhone and iPad, but only audio on Android. The MLB.TV live baseball app was actually what ultimately pushed me to buy an iPad 2 3G.

        Apps do matter, but they need to be quality apps that provide something useful and unique, or at least do something in a better way. I haven't used Android extensively, but after just a bit of tinkering I got the strong impression that the number of quality Android apps available wasn't nearly 300k, probably more like 10%-20% of that. Apps are only relevant if they provide additional value.
        Tiggster79
  • No.

    What you just said is demonstrably wrong. The reason I bought my android phone is the open development kit, the ease of development, and the number of third party apps available.
    snoop0x7b
  • No.

    What you just said is demonstrably wrong. The reason I bought my android phone is the open development kit, the ease of development, and the number of third party apps available.
    snoop0x7b
    • RE: 3rd party apps aren't what makes or breaks a smartphone platform

      @snoop0x7b in other words: every body who uses a smartphone is because of the development kit, and no other reason, since that's why i do it, so this is a demonstration. By the way, i also use Nokia; i also do not need apps to have an excuse to use a phone in public and show off the same phone everybody has, even if the Nokia hardware is on top of the list, plus Nokia maps has the best navigation, and it just works
      voodoochicken
      • RE: 3rd party apps aren't what makes or breaks a smartphone platform

        @voodoochicken Your really pissed about what has happened with Nokia the past few years aren't you? To make yourself feel better you have to lash out at others. This is truly pathetic and I would recommend you get some professional help before you completely lose it.
        non-biased
  • RE: 3rd party apps aren't what makes or breaks a smartphone platform

    yes they sorry
    robnaj
  • RE: 3rd party apps aren't what makes or breaks a smartphone platform

    I don't totally agree.
    james347
  • Matthew.. you understand that your are VERY much in the minority..

    ..though right?

    most people who i talk to barely use their phones to talk on.. that's on of the least used functions for a good majority of people..

    large amount of apps in apps store is not in and of it sell what the reason for going for a platform, but a large amount of apps increase the chance that that one niche that you need/want is in there.. it's not about the core apps.. every platform will have those.. it's really about the niche apps..
    doctorSpoc
  • Matthew, where's your N8?

    I completely agree<br>I use the N8 and the HD7<br>A few apps like CameraPro(N8) and IM+(WP7) get used a lot.<br>But mostly both devices serve me well and with save for the above mentioned ones I seldom use any apps I have DL'd.<br>Thinking hard about getting the E7<br>Or waiting for the N9 or the WP7 version...
    Marilith
  • RE: 3rd party apps aren't what makes or breaks a smartphone platform

    IF the platform is complete enough, you hardly need 3rd Party apps to do majority of things. I have been saying all along that with a good browser, Java, and Adobe Flash many platforms can provide a lot of content and functionlity without needing many applications. Apple with iOS wants you to spend your money on Apps (so they make more money), but that isn't the way it HAS to be at all. It is the business model that Apple has chosen. Android is a bit less 3rd Party app centric. Nokia for a long time has allowed 3rd party apps , but provided enough functionality that you were able to live pretty nicely with out of the box apps. Now Nokia is putting their eggs in the Windows Phone basket and that may be becoming less and less of the truth. HTML5, if it comes quickly enough, may save us from AppHell , but I am not sure that it will come quickly enough.
    jkohut
    • RE: 3rd party apps aren't what makes or breaks a smartphone platform

      @jkohut <i>I have been saying all along that with a good browser, Java, and Adobe Flash many platforms can provide a lot of content and functionlity without needing many applications.</i><br>I don't disagree but I have to say that the browser is one of the least used apps on my phone and it has nothing to do with the lack of Flash, I am actually happy it doesn't have Flash. I have found that using apps I get the info I would use the browser for much faster and with far less effort.<br><br><i>Apple with iOS wants you to spend your money on Apps (so they make more money), but that isn't the way it HAS to be at all.</i><br>If that was the absolute truth then there wouldn't be any free apps in Apple's App Store. The truth is that there are tons of good free apps and the majority of the ones I use on a regular basis and find very useful were free apps. BTW, doesn't Google get a cut of the paid apps in their market?<br><br><i>Android is a bit less 3rd Party app centric.</i><br>I haven't really used any Android devices much but that isn't my impression of them.
      non-biased